Michelle Obama was generally a beloved First Lady while her husband Barack Obama was in office and even today, she is still very highly regarded. But in reality, the former FLOTUS apparently experienced a lot of racist at the time as well.
During the latest episode of her podcast, Michelle Obama got candid about her 8 years as a First Lady and all the racism she unfortunately experience at the White House.
According to her, it felt ‘exhausting’ and it was as if she were ‘invisible’ since people ‘wouldn’t look [her] in the eyes.’
In other words, even as the most powerful woman in the country, she still had to deal with unequal treatment based on her skin color.
Apparently, Michelle Obama would sometimes put on a disguise and leave the White House at night by herself.
Things changed a lot when people had no idea who they were talking to in terms of the kind of treatment she was getting.
While discussing racism in America with friends Dr. Sharon Malone, Denielle Pemberton, and Kelly Dibble on the Spotify podcast, Michelle confessed that: ‘I can tell you a number of stories [where] I’ve been completely incognito. Walking the dogs on the canal, people will come up and pet my dogs but will not look me in the eye. They don’t know it’s me. And it’s — what white folks don’t understand is that’s so telling of how white America views people who are not like them. You know, we don’t exist. And when we do exist, we exist as a threat. And that’s exhausting.’
But even when it was all out in the open that she was the First Lady, some did not change their attitude.
Obama recalled how once, she and Pemberton took their daughters to get some ice cream following a soccer game and ‘I had told the Secret Service to stand back, because we were trying to be normal. There was a line, and once again, being a Black woman I notice that white people don’t even see me. So then a white woman cuts right in front of us to order.’
When Michelle confronted her, ‘She didn’t apologize, she never looked me in my eye, she didn’t know it was me. All she saw was a Black person, or a group of Black people, or maybe she didn’t even see that. Because we were that invisible.’